Take A Number

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In the world we live in, or at least in a world you or I might live in, there’s never a lack of events to look forward to.  Some we’d be billing to bypass because they’ve ran their course, or we grow up.

Sometimes none of that matters.  We still grow up but we still enjoy our friends, good food, and a little vino never hurt anybody.

The event I’m referring to is a gathering of friends to watch a major professional wrestling event that took place this past Sunday night.  The specifics aren’t necessary, other than it was a good group of individuals, and I was honored to be invited and included.

Now I had no intention or idea that a story would come out of this. We’re at as simple as a bar as you’re going to find.   The food is bar food, the drinks are your cold beers, well drinks (I’m not even sure what that is but ‘well drinks’ just popped up in my head), and for the contrarians like me, they do have a couple of bottles of wine.

With the latter part of what I said coming to fruition, I did buy a bottle.  In hindsight I have no idea why I did.  But for a short and long-term investment it was worth it, so I didn’t have to get up to keep ordering a drink.   But in the long run, none of this really matters.  More on that in a little while.

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The wine was the 2014 Canyon Road Pinot Noir from you guessed it, Canyon Road.  And there isn’t much to it. That sounds dismissive and I don’t meant it to be, but this is about as basic as a wine as you’re going to find.  And I’ve seen it listed from $7-$10 in most places.  The cheaper you can find it, the more it’s actually worth that price.  I know that makes sense.

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The wine has little, if any, structure.  And you don’t need to be an expert to know, you want a a wine to bring something to the table.  You might taste some cherry, get a little tannin, and a get a little soul.   But all things considered, this wine will satisfy many.  And when pickings are slim, there’s little room for complaining.    I even waited a good 15-20 minutes for this wine to breathe, and not much changed.   That’s when you know this as standard label and mass produced as a wine as there’s going to be.

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The salad was as good as it’s going to be.  I honestly don’t know what that means, as I think about it. Haha.

For a  post I made on another one of their wines, nearly two years ago, click here.

For more on Canyon Road click here,  here is where you can find their wines near you, their wine list, and finally their contact information.

But going back to numbers,  I want to focus on something else.  The event we watched was all about numbers.  We picked a number to match an entrant in said event, but also a number hoping we might win some money.  That’s always fun.  Not too much was committed, so the risk vs. reward was’t too serious.  Well the reward always feels good if you win it.

Where I’m going with this, is recently I’ve had conversations with people (and myself) about how more and more they feel like just a number, like a spoke on the wheel, and an afterthought at times.  The title of this post may evoke feelings of waiting in a deli line to pick up whatever, and that might feel pedestrian and robotic as anything. While in some universes that might be valid, it’s actually the furthest thing from the truth.

We’re all brought here to add value, we all come from the same source, and are all connected.  And none of that says we’re just a number.  We’re all spiritual beings that have arrived here to do some awesome things, enjoy the finer things in life (like good wine), but also to feel good as much as possible.  Again, nothing about that entails that you and I are just a number.

Well might be a number.  That number is 1.  Because we’re capable of being the best to ourselves, to each other, and all the good energy that’s here on this planet Earth.

Sunday night I felt something and I can’t explain it, nor do I need to right away.  Something felt uneasy but then it felt right.  I hung with good friends but I also hung out with people I rarely see, or just met for the first time.  We were all there for the same reason, and one of those was just to feel good.

And you can’t put any price tag or number, on feeling good.

I feel good right now, and I wish the same for you.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

 

One Big Holiday

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This is the conclusion from this post back in August.

No, I don’t have anything dramatic or final to say about this.  This isn’t the cinemas.  Well maybe as I get my stride a few hundred or so words in, this will feel natural.  I also made a post back around Christmas 2015.

But back in the late spring/early Summer, I treated myself to a couple of glasses of wine from the fine people at V-No Wine Bar in Fells Point, and after explaining myself, and what it is that I do (What do we do exactly? Hmmm.. that ongoing tennis match in your head…), Jane gave me a couple of glasses to sample, and the rest is up to my interpretation.

I waited this long to write about part two now, because again, the timing of these stories have to feel natural, and have to feel right.  What feels right to you, to me, and everyone else is all relative.  But when you try so many wines, and are limited with a self-imposed once a week schedule (I do deviate of course), it can lead to certain stories never seeing the light of day, expiring through no fault of their own, or (in this case) an inspired thought has led me to today.

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The Laguna Chardonnay (roughly around $15-20 at most retailers, including Total Wine) is not one of those wines that you should let fall by the wayside.  What I sensed happened is, it was a beautiful day yesterday, the sun came out, no jackets were required, and I felt revived.

And this wine I had meant to put off, came back to the forefront of my mind.  The setting was similar.  The sun was out, the air was crisp (just like this wine), and everything felt right with the world again.   It felt like an extended holiday, which this blog essentially is.  I’m having fun doing this.

But back to this Chardonnay, there’s so much to like and to love.  It tastes like summer.  Those are expert notes and analysis I’m presenting to you by the way, and free of charge, ha…

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It’s full in body and full in spirit.  There’s plenty of fruits and plenty of scents of flowers, even more fruits, and a bunch of good vibrations.   That’s the best I can give you right now.

My palate was cleansed, and at the time, so was my spirit, so it’s going to taste that much better versus being in a place of conflict and confusion, where biases and tastes may be altered unfairly.

I felt right with everything, I felt one with the universe and felt abundant.  This was a wine that I otherwise would not have tried anywhere else.  Well that’s no fair to say exactly.  The wine found me as I found the wine, and I was supposed to enjoy this here for the first time, in this picturesque setting.

However, as I write this, this wine has a familiar look and distinction about it.  I can’t put my finger on it, and if I did, I would be forcing the issue and there would be push back from the universe.

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So instead I appreciate the moment, which turned into an hour, for what it was.  I felt good, and after taking just a few pictures, I sat there and admired everything that was around me.  The Fells Point neighborhood is great, and with the weather being what it was (and will soon be again), with folks going by on foot, on bike, and on boat, there was plenty of room for people watching, admiration, and a sense of joy that we all yearn for on a daily basis.

Let’s do it again sometime.

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For more on V-No, click here.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

 

 

So Secret, I Can’t Say Anything…

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That line is infamous or not, depending on where your allegiances are.  I won’t put up too many links nor should I actually be divulging my thoughts on this certain secret society, that has become more of a running joke than anything else. It’s become one of those things where if you speak of it, you’re automatically labeled this.

Leave it to me to use my wine blog as a vehicle to discuss this wine, which has nothing to do with this group whatsoever.   I’m cracking myself up as I write this all out.  Yes my friends who know me, like to call me conspiracy theorist, because that’s the easy thing to do.  Or is it?  Hmm…

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The 2015 Illuminati Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riparosso is a family wine that I had no expectations of.  If I wasn’t so enlightened (ha) I would just expect this to be  decent Montepulciano at worst that would serve its purpose, and pair well with a meal, most likely an Italian dish.

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At least the stuffed shells were good.  Ah that’s a bit mean.   But yes my meal was fantastic.  I gave this bottle a lot of time to breathe and I still didn’t get much.  I spent about $15 and at worst I expected a wine that would taste somewhere on that level.  That level is open to your interpretation and tastes.  I wanted something of value, instead this wine fell a bit flat.

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Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible.  There’s just not much to this.  I appreciate the notes on the back saying ‘Gifted of Generous Character and Rich Flavour’, because when I read that, are they talking about the wine or something else? Hmm, I detect something secretive going on here.. Ooooh Ahhhh.

The notes from where I purchased this (Canton Crossing Wine & Spirits in Baltimore is the only place I’ve seen this bottle) mention aromas of cherry, plums, and spices; along with some of those same flavors I just mentioned, and flowers.   Which flowers, I don’t know, but that’s where I get the earthy forest-like taste on my palate,  and it doesn’t really work out here.

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It’s light, easy enough to drink but I wanted more. It’s a good bottle, but not at $15, more say a $9 bottle.

But if you’re looking for something same, inoffensive, and approachable, this will do just fine.  I just wish it had more of the taste I was hoping for.  I’ve had plenty a Montepulciano and Italian wine in my lifetime, and they’re usually good to fantastic.  They all can’t be winners, but at the end of the day we all have our tastes, and some people are going to love this.

Which is what the theme of this blog has always been.  You’re on with your vino.  I love how we all can have different tastes because we come from different walks of life, yet share the same love for wine with dear friends, family, and other faithful companions.  It’s what makes this journey one that is never-ending, nor should it ever end.

I’m truly grateful I have the capacity to write this blog out on at least a weekly basis.  And share with you my thoughts on the wines, but even more so on how it connects to the time of year, my life, and in a relatable sense, maybe your life as well.   The pairings of food, the location, the good friends, and all those other details are more important than any notes, flavors, aromas, or any of that jazz.  And that latter stuff is important, but I think you know what I’m saying.

Even though this wine didn’t win me over, it might end up being one of your favorites.  And that’s fantastic.   This is an odd time of year where the holidays are over and the weather is still cold enough, that I can create a different story just based on the wine itself and how I’m feeling.

This wine, like many others, just seem to find me.  As I continue to find myself, I look forward to seeing what finds me this time next week.   Not yet enlightened (Yes I had to go there one more time haha) but doing my best here…

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

 

Pairs Well With Ice Cream Cones

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The hosts get all the credit for the title.  Yes there were ice cream cones, but no pictures of those sweet treats were taken.   So I could easily be lying, but there’s no fun in that.

But before dessert, there was plenty of greasy comfort food to be shared on a freezing yet glorious and inspired Sunday evening.   All of this came together rather suddenly which is how my most favorite of things and events usually turn out.  MenageLabel1

With all this did come some wine, in the form of Ménage à Trois.  Maybe you’ve heard of them

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The bottle we shared was the 2014 California Red Wine which is a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

To be honest, at the time of drinking this I didn’t think or care what was in this wine.  All I cared about was sharing a bottle in impromptu fashion, and eat some carry out food till my heart and stomach couldn’t take it anymore.  Actually that’s an exaggeration.  Remember there was also ice cream later.

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I’m just grateful to be in the company of good friends that I don’t see enough, in a different setting outside of the norm.  And when I mean outside of the norm, the house and location is spectacular.   It was so calming and peaceful at a time where many of us need that calm and peace.  There can never be enough.

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The conversation was all over the place.  There was catching up to do, serious business to attend do (maybe or not really), and those deep conversations I’ve been known to partake in from time to time.  I’m not good with this whole small talk thing.

When it comes to the wine, I may have tasted the blackberries and raspberries in the notes, but I wasn’t seeking out anything like that.  I was seeking out peace and great company of friends, and some peace within myself.   A standard label wine such as this is just what everyone can use.

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Complex, bold, and loads of structure have its place.  But when you’re pairing this wine with crab dip, chicken cheesteak, and chicken nachos with all kinds of stuff thrown on top, do you really need fancy and pricey?

You can find their wines quite likely at a store near you. It’s one of those most accessible labels there is.  I know people that don’t like wine that will purchase these bottles as gifts or to try if they’ve never had wine in general, but feel compelled to every once in a while.

What’s funny is that while I’ve had many a glass and bottle, I’ve rarely actually had Ménage à Trois.  It could be because my palate has expanded that I know what I want, yet willing to try anything unique and unfamiliar.

What it also could be is that I may take the fact that Ménage à Trois is everywhere for granted.  And I don’t meant to over-analyze but that’s something I would like to cut out of my life, the over-analyzing and the taking things for granted.  Could be easier done than said.  Yes I did just say that in reverse, deliberately.

There’s nothing truly mind blowing about this wine, nor does it need to be.  It’s a wine that’s simple, easy to drink, enjoyable, and does its job.  What more do you need?

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And on an evening like this nothing was taken for granted.  I’m grateful to be invited into a home of dear friend’s and the warm and cozy feeling remained throughout the course of the night.  It’ll be a wonderful memory I now attach to Ménage à Trois, and I couldn’t be more thrilled, and yes, grateful.

To find their wines near you, click here; for their story, click here; their food & wine pairing suggestions can be found here; some things to love, and their contact info.

I would like to revisit a wine from Ménage à Trois much sooner than later.  Timing and the universe will present a situation where this will come together effortlessly.

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll share some more ice cream cones.

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Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

 

 

 

…And Be Your Compass

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It’s early January, and does anyone know where the time went?  I write this from a place of having many options to write about, yet many options that might not see the light of day, nor are meant to ever be.

As eclectic as these experiences have been, and I know will continue to be, sometimes the best is always going to be the ones that you didn’t even know were going to happen.  And you don’t know always know how great they’re going to be until the company you didn’t even expect to see, show up; and the place we ended up, were never on our radar to begin with.

Or maybe it was.

The day after Christmas, a good friend of mine met me at one venue, but we mutually realized this wasn’t going to work.  It was too crowded for what we wanted.   All we were looking for was a place of peace, to sip a glass of wine, and maybe partake in more indulging of foods that make the holidays so great.

I keep talking about the holidays. They’re officially over in most circles, but to me, anything and everything can turn into a holiday, a joyous experience, and a memorable one, if done properly.

This is exactly what we did.

When we stopped too hard to find a place, we let our spiritual compass find our way.  My gut told me wine, and it always tells me wine.   Footsteps from where we were standing, the Chesapeake Wine Company was just the cure that was needed for the sometimes bluesy and downward feelings the holidays can bring.

I’ve been here many times before, seen ownership change hands, purchased plenty of wine for a party, and had many a glass inside.

This was a combination of all of that.  My friend and I shared a couple of bottles and enjoyed a beautiful plate of bread and cheese.  It was a comfort that was needed.  And what was going to be a short while, turned into a long one.   How long the day went doesn’t matter.

It’s one of those situations where time stands it and flies by all at the same time.

The wine that did stand out was the 2016 Monterey County Black Pinot Noir from Mark West.

Now if you’ve had a Mark West wine, you know you’re going to get quality, you know they’re strictly all about Pinot Noir and nothing else, and you know this all comes at a reasonable price.   I’ve seen their selections in many a shoppe at right around $10, and sometimes less.  It’s a bargain for what you’re getting.

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The Monterey County Black is in more of the $12-$15 range, and for me this tastes closer to a $20 bottle.  That’s just an opinion and observation based on how the wine tasted and opened up as the afternoon went on.

It’s a smoother Pinot then many might be accustomed too.  You get those flavors of plums, dark cherries, vanilla, and mocha which is exquisite for the winter time, but is just as drinkable in the warmer months.  But thinking about this now, it was perfect for a post Christmas affair.

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Seriously, this might have been the most fitting day to have this glass, and it went perfectly with our snacks.

What’s even more fascinating is the notes tell a story that I’m going to look for in future wines, when I get the chance.

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In order to give this wine that darker color and more of a medium-to-full bodies taste is the result of a process called saignée, which is when the ligher colored wine is removed before it has time to blend in with the skins of the grapes.

I didn’t think about any of that at time because I was just so busy enjoying the wine in its purest form and more importantly the company of one another.   And that’s what a place like this will do.

The atmosphere of Chesapake Wine Company is  inviting, welcoming, yet private enough that you can have a pleasant conversation without anyone in the world to distract you.

Yet the bottles available for purchase might be a nice cause for distraction and another escape if necessary.  The staff is pretty awesome as well.

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For more on the Chesapeake Wine Company, here is more about them, their wines by the glass, their food menu, and contact information.

And for more on Mark West, here is their wine list, their story, where to find their wines, and contact info.

This is the first post of the year, and as I’ve always said, we’re just getting started.

We’re just getting started.

Happy New Year.

Ideen